The Music Legends Litter: A Tribute

The Music Legends Litter: A Tribute

Last week we introduced you you to our “Music Legends” litter, five little puppies who bravely fought and survived Parvo: Freddie Mercury, Madonna, Celine Dion, Cher and Tina Turner. These brave little souls spent a week of ups and downs as we treated them together, hoping for the best possible outcome. While our rescue celebrates their lives, we are also mourning the loss of their five litter mates who took the same journey and unfortunately did not survive: Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.

The litter of 10 puppies arrived on a Monday night. Our intake team and a group of volunteers were on hand to transport them, give them baths, vetting, microchips and manage all their paperwork before the fosters arrived to take them home. It was a hectic evening that was full of puppy cuddles and joy for the new lives that were just beginning in rescue.

Things quickly turned urgent as one by on the puppies started breaking with the devastating signs of Parvo. We worked diligently with our vet partner to form a game play for how to treat 10 puppies for a virus that has less than a 30% survival rate. Less than 48 hours after intake, we had a puppy ICU set up at our foster managers’ home, moved nine of the puppies in and the 24/7 monitoring, medication and care began (one puppy miraculously was showing no signs of decline, so he stayed with his foster under close supervision).

With ten foster homes, our entire intake and management teams, and dozens of volunteers already involved, this was hitting our entire rescue very hard. A small group of volunteers gathered at the PICU to physically care for the puppies, while others supported the efforts by running errands and supplies, offering back up and communicating updates to our entire rescue, who was on pins and needles. Via posts to our private volunteer Facebook group, this is the timeline of events we all experienced over the next few days.

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6 @ 4:05pm
As many know, we had a BIG intake of puppies on Monday. Two litters arrived; three in the “Mountains” litter that are 16 weeks old, and 10 in the “Music Legends” litter that are nine weeks old. After the puppies went home with their respective fosters that night, the youngest ones started showing signs of illness. It was determined last night that the Music Legends litter has Parvo and treatment began immediately. Nine of the 10 Legends puppies have been moved to a makeshift ICU at the supply house where they will get three consecutive days of medication and subcutaneous fluids (Freddie Mercury has so far shown no signs of illness). Parvo is a highly contagious and very serious disease for small puppies so everyone’s best wishes and positive vibes are needed for the next 72 hours. Parvo is expensive to treat, and the outbreak also means that a lot of our foster homes have become infected with the Parvo virus, so this hits us very hard as a rescue. We’ll keep everyone updated with the puppies’ progress and if there are other ways you can help. We’re all in this together and these babies need our hopes, prayers and love right now.

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6 @ 8:25pm
Puppy Update: I’m shedding tears as I share this; the smallest of the puppies, Stevie Nicks, is failing quickly. Lorelei and Lori are en route to Como Park Animal Hospital to put her to sleep so she doesn’t suffer any longer. The rest of the puppies have had a second dose of fluids for the night and are resting quietly; they seem to be holding fairly steady right now. Continue sending healing thoughts and prayers for the Save-a-Bull family tonight, especially Stevie who was with us for such a short time.

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THURSDAY, NOV. 7 @ 11:57am
Puppy Update: Unfortunately the news is not good. We lost Whitney and Michael this morning. Billie is in critical condition, and Madonna and Aretha are also critical but stable. Celine, Tina and Cher are stable right now, and even though Freddie Mercury has now also been diagnosed as Parvo positive, he’s in his foster home and currently doing great. We wish we had better news, but keep the good vibes and prayers coming. We can only hope that things will start to get better.
RIP to these sweet babies ❤️


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THURSDAY, NOV. 7 @ 4:05pm
Update: I’m sorry, family…Billie Holiday has passed away and Tina Turner is taking a turn for the worse. Parvo is vicious and impossible to keep up with 😢 Our hearts are with Billie as she is no longer suffering. While it’s been a horrible 24 hours, we DO need to keep the faith. Cher and Celine Dion are doing really well in puppy ICU, and Freddie Mercury continues to be himself at his foster home. This is a great sign and we have to hold out hope that things will continue in this direction.

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FRIDAY, NOV. 8 @ 7:05am
We said goodbye to Aretha last night. She was surrounded by love when she left, rest easy, baby.

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FRIDAY, NOV. 8 @ 4:17pm
Puppy Update: It’s been a relatively good day. Celine Dion went home with her foster today, and Tina is “turning” the corner and showing a little improvement. Madonna is still having ups and downs and is deemed critical right now. Keep sending her your love, we SO need her to pull through this!

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FRIDAY, NOV 8 @ 7:25pm
Puppy Update: I finally have a nothing-but-good-news post to share! Per the puppy ICU this evening “Madonna just chased the cat, ate 2 bites of a hotdog, and drank some water!” Both Tina and Madonna appear to be pulling out of the worst of it and are feeling sassy enough to harass the very tolerant feline. We’ll of course continue updates until we’re 100% out of the woods, but we’re going into the weekend feeling pretty confident that the worst is over. XOXO

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The remaining puppies spent the weekend in the PICU just to make sure we were truly out of the woods. With a little more TLC they all finally went back to their foster homes by the following Wednesday – it had been exactly one week since this terrible cycle began.

We lost 5 puppies in 26 hours and the entire rescue felt the impact. It was hard to share and read the updates, and even harder to be there as each little life passed. This weekend, the fosters and volunteers closest to the puppies held a small memorial for the ones we lost. Their ashes were given to each foster who officially “adopted” each puppy before they passed.

We couldn’t be more grateful to the vets at Westgate Pet Clinic for supporting us through this entire ordeal. The doctors were literally on standby and took calls from our own vetting team 24/7. While losing five puppies is an unthinkable tragedy, we know that with their help, and the diligence of our own team of volunteers, the outcome could have been so much worse.

We celebrate the lives of five puppies that will go on to have wonderful lives with amazing families, and we mourn the loss of those that never got the chance to start.

In memory of Stevie, Whitney, Michael, Billie and Aretha. May you rest in peace knowing you were loved so much in such a short amount to time.

Spay/Neuter: A National Initiative

Spay/Neuter: A National Initiative

Pet overpopulation isn’t a “local” problem! Across the United States shelters, rescues and animal control agencies fight with and try to deal with the overabundance of animals that need help. Because of this comedian Rebecca Corry created the Standup for Pits Foundation and hosts the national initiative “Spay/Neuter Angel Day” named in honor of her departed pit bull, friend and advocate, Angel. On April 2, the anniversary of Angel’s passing, SUFP organizes shelter and rescue organizations across the country to hold free spay/neuter clinics on the same day. SUFP shells out thousands of dollars to pay for this national event.

This year we were honored to receive a grant from SUFP to host a clinic in Minneapolis as part of Spay/Neuter Angel Day. Across the country, 22 cities held clinics with the goal to spay/neuter 868 dogs. With the need for these services in the Twin Cities growing and growing, it was extra special to be able to add this seventh clinic to our schedule!

For Corry, who knows the sad facts of shelter overpopulation in America, this is a vital day for protecting the future of all homeless animals. According to Corry, one unaltered female dog and her puppies can create 67,000 dogs in six years, if none of the dogs are spayed or neutered. “So if we are fixing 600, you do the math on that. That’s the potential to save millions of lives,” she adds.

Corry hopes efforts like this open animal lovers’ eyes to the importance of spay/neuter efforts. While donating to a vital initiative like spay/neuter clinics may not be as cute as giving funds to the care of one rescue dog, these donations will go on to change countless lives.

“The best way to save dogs from the shelter is not letting them get in there to begin with,” sums up Corry.[1]

 We couldn’t agree more, and that the entire basis for our Fix Your Pit program. On April 2 we saw 16 dogs; 16 more than we would have been able to without this extra clinic. The Stand Up for Pits Foundation footed the entire bill, for us and for the 21 other cities, totaling more than $70,000.

Supporting spay/neuter initiatives is the best way to stop the cycle of homeless, abused, unwanted and euthanized animals. Please give today!



More Than We Bargained For; Blue’s Day

More Than We Bargained For; Blue’s Day

Our October spay/neuter clinic started out like every other clinic. We opened doors at 7:30am and began the mad dash of welcoming and checking in our clients. They filled out and sign some forms, then trustingly hand their dogs over to us. We weighed each one, and got them settled in a kennel to wait their turn for surgery. Vet staff sorted paperwork, vaccinations, microchips and got everything in order to begin. It was business as usual.

Throughout the day, we had a few procedures that went a little longer than expected so we had dogs like Blue, patiently waiting his turn. Finally, it was Blue was prepped for surgery and everything went according to plan: from the administration of the anesthesia, to the actual neuter procedure, then his move to the recovery area were our Save-a-Bull volunteer team keeps the pups warm and assists with waking them up.

Just like all of the dogs before him, Blue awoke on his own and became alert. But within seconds that all changed and Blue was gasping for air. The volunteer sitting with Blue immediately alerted the veterinarian team, who jumped into action and began assisting Blue to breathe. They were able to stabilize him, but he kept lapsing and struggling to breath. The AHS veterinarian team recommended that Blue go to the nearby emergency vet and stay the night for observation and testing to determine what was happening.

Every surgery comes with risks, and while unexpected and extended situations are not part of the Fix Your Pit program, we knew emergency care was going to be really expensive. We told Blue’s family that we would cover the costs of his night at the e-vet.

At the e-vet Blue received a chest xray, it was discovered that Blue had a birth defect that has resulted in an enlarged heart. This is what made the surgery very hard for him and caused him to crash in recovery. Since Blue is only four months old and had never been to the vet, no one had any idea of his condition. Now, his family had very few options: they could transfer him to the U of M for a consult with a specialist (which is very expensive); or they could make the decision to euthanize him (the severity of his condition will continue to progress as he grows older and he could pass at any time); or, they could just take him home, limit his exercise, and see how he does. Blue went home with is family the following day. He’s currently happy and doing well with restricted exercise, and is hoping to see a cardiac specialist for further recommendations.

If Blue’s family had not had the opportunity for the free spay/neuter clinic, they may never have known about his heart condition. With too much exercise, Blue could have died of heart failure with no warning. While there may not be anything that can be done for Blue’s heart, his family is aware of his limitations and is living every day to the fullest and loving him like crazy for whatever time he has.

While Blue’s “surprise” is the most severe we’ve encountered at a clinic, we often see dogs that require a little extended care beyond the spay/neuter services we offer. From hernias, to tooth extractions, to minor skin and ear infections, we do our best to send each dog home with everything he or she needs. This of course goes above and beyond our budget for the Fix Your Pit program, but how can we say no? Your donations make this possible and there are many, many dogs like Blue who are so very grateful for your generosity. For many it’s not only a free spay/neuter, but a chance to be seen by a vet and get much needed care for the very first time. Thank you!

Going the Distance: It’s All About Teamwork

Going the Distance: It’s All About Teamwork

Technology, we all rely heavily on it to help manage our busy lives, and our rescue is no different. Each of us has experienced a time when technology let us down and that’s exactly what happened during our registration process for the June spay/neuter clinic. Somehow our registration system, which had one job to do, failed to turn off access when the spots at our clinic were filled. Instead of the typical 15-18 appointments, we had almost 40 registrations! There was NO way we could physically accommodate that many surgeries in one day, but we didn’t want to let anyone down. So, with the help of the admin staff at the Animal Humane Society we were able to reschedule some of the appointments to a different date, and we still covered the costs of the surgeries for those who could reschedule.

But we still had 24 dogs to see at the June clinic, which was really going to stress the AHS veterinary team. We are lucky to have a great relationship with the AHS – from the admin team to the veterinarians, they all worked so hard to make sure every dog got the time and attention and quality care they deserved. Our volunteer team really stepped up too, helping with every aspect of care and recovery for the dogs at the clinic. The team finished for the day and sent the last dog home at close to 4:00pm, more than three hours later than usual, making it an incredibly long day. But it was all worth it to look back at the work we did as a team and the additional impact we were able to make on this one, crazy-busy day.

Our Fix Your Pit program could not be as successful as it has been this year without support from the Animal Humane Society’s Veterinarian and admin teams and without the financial backing from donors like you during Give to the Max Day. Thank you for being apart of this team!

A Tribute to Carmen

A Tribute to Carmen

In August of this year, a family contact us in need of help with two pit bulls. A recent death in their family left Carmen (13) and Pearl (10) without a place to call home. We know taking in an older dog is hard, but two? We were blessed to have a wonderful couple step up and agree to foster both of them!

As with any older dog, Pearl and Carmen needed special care. We took them to our vet, had them checked out, and made sure they had everything they needed to start looking for their next homes. Pearl was healthy, so we began looking for the perfect home for her. Carmen needed a little more time. It was discovered that she had a failing heart so we put her on medications to try and slow that process. She lounged happily at her foster home as we watched her progress.

While we kept an eye on Carmen, we found the perfect match for Pearl’s elder bull needs and she was adopted! It was amazing that in only two months she was going home for good and we couldn’t have been happier for her. Carmen unfortunately was declining, and it became clear that she would never leave rescue.

While the end-of-life is heartbreaking with any dog, it’s even more so with a dog in rescue who has no home or family. But Carmen’s fosters were not going to let that happen and they quickly adopter her as their own. They worked hard to keep her comfortable, happy and very loved in the time she had left.

Since Carmen and Pearl had spent their whole lives together, Pearl’s new owner brought her over to spend some time with her failing mother. It was a sweet reunion and only fitting that Carmen spent her last days surrounded by real and new family. In her final hours, she cuddled with her favorite elephant toy, and peacefully left us.

As we mourn the end of Carmen’s life, we celebrate that we had the opportunity to know her. We are thankful to the family that trusted us with her care in a time of need, and are incredibly grateful to the fosters who took her and Pearl in and gave them the love and dignity they deserve.

Sweet Carmen, run happy and free, and know that you were loved by so many.

Pit bull advocate competes in “Survivor” charity event

Pit bull advocate competes in “Survivor” charity event

Hosted by the Rogers Lions Club, Live To Give is an annual charity event inspired by the hit reality TV show, “Survivor.” Competitors are asked to raise money to participate, the first $400 collected is prize pool money, the rest is donated to their charity of choice. Last year the Live to Give competition raised over $27,000 for the competitors charities!

We were contacted by Jesse Longtin who is competing in the event and chose to support Save-a-Bull Rescue. He plays softball with one of our foster volunteers and has met many of our dogs at the ball field. He got to interact with these dogs and fell in love with the breed.

“I chose to represent Save-a-Bull Rescues for this charity event because I have always supported charities and organizations that look out for our furry friends and that help them find great and accommodating homes. My first job was at an animal shelter up north and that is where I fell in love with helping animals directly, and where I learned how many people have misconceptions about certain breeds of dogs. While I have never owned a pitbull, I have worked with, and  have lived with pitbulls owned by my roommates and have only found them to be loving, affectionate, and good-hearted loyal companions. I wanted to focus on giving back to a charity that means something to me this year, and Save-a-Bull Rescues fits that criteria perfectly! It’s a worthy cause that I couldn’t be more supportive of and I have seen firsthand some of the amazing things Save-a-Bull has done for the bully breed in the Twin Cities area. My softball coach, Manuel Solano, has brought his Save-a-Bull foster puppies to games and it has been an absolute joy interacting with them and getting them socialized. I couldn’t be more happy to be representing an amazing charity, while getting the chance to play a mini version of Survivor, which happens to be my favorite show of all time!”

We’re excited to cheer Jesse on as he competes in this event and are honored that he chose Save-a-Bull as his benefiting charity. We’re also really excited that our mission and efforts are spreading through the community in small, but powerful ways as our network of pit bull advocates keeps growing!

If you’d like to follow along this fun competition, visit the Live to Give Facebook page

And if you want to donate to Jesse’s efforts in supporting Save-a-Bull Rescue, and to learn more about competition details, go here:

(Note: Enter the amount you want to donate first, then your name and email on the next page, and then enter “Jesse Longtin” when asked which competitor you want you donation to go to)

We’ll keep you posted on Jesse’s outcome after this event takes place July 26-28, 2019.